The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse

by Bruce Hale (2000)

A gumshoe’s delight, The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse, is a perfect introduction to the beloved mystery genre.  Such are its charms, it will manage to pull in both reluctant and already enthusiastic readers. At a mere one hundred pages, it makes for a perfect little two-week chapter book to read and share together.  The author, Bruce Hale, introduces his long running, hilarious Chet Gecko Mystery Series, modeled after famous noir detectives – think Humphrey Bogart, or even Guy Noir! –  with this first title.  Watch out!  If your school gets the Chet Gecko bug, there are 15 titles to devour! As readers of all ages will soon discover, Chet Gecko is layered with jokes and humor that will have parents, kids, and educators all giggling together.

Chet solves problems by gathering first-hand accounts, being able to ask for help from his intuitive friends, sticking his neck (and tail) out, and using his powers of deduction. In The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse, a first grader goes missing, and the finder’s fee will be a piece of stinkbug pie – if Chet can find Billy before the big football game. As author Hale mimics and honors the noir style, Chet Gecko is full of witty wordplay and arch puns.  But Chet’s sleuthing is also fast-paced, adventurous, and funny.

Check out Chet Gecko and see if it doesn’t turn out to be the perfect if unexpected way to entreat and beguile readers – and turn them into detectives or – better (or worse?) – punning wordsmiths.